Trustees update employee insurance policies

Rachel Abbey

Changes in employee policies dominated the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday, as members approved new salaries and insurance plans.

The Finance and Administration Committee recommended to raise the pay range for classified workers by 2 percent. This would put some employees’ wages below the new minimum, said Carolyn Pizzuto, vice president for human resources. The committee moved to raise all these employees to the new levels of pay.

These evaluations should happen every two to three years to adjust for inflation and the economy, Pizzuto said.

Employees will also notice a change in their insurance policies, Pizzuto said. As required by the contract with the faculty union, the university will hire two insurance providers, Medical Mutual and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Pizzuto said employees will also have to contribute to their health-care coverage. The higher the level of contribution, the greater the amount of coverage. In the past, employees could opt not to contribute to their health-care coverage.

University health-care costs were outpacing national trends, Pizzuto said. However, the university will be able to increase life insurance and to maintain overall health protection. Employees also wanted to see more health and wellness programs, and the university can provide those.

Trustees also acted to change student life.

Involvement in co-curricular activities is one of the most important ways to keep students in college, board member Brian Tucker said. In the future, students will have a record of these activities. These “learning transcripts” will officially record students’ campus activities, such as leadership positions, to give to future employers.

Tucker said if he had two finalists for a job with very comparable qualifications, “The person that had this transcript would get the nod.”Another program in the works affecting students is Enterprise Resource Planning, which will replace and streamline Kent State’s current institutional data systems, said Edward Mahon, vice president for Information Services. With the program, Social Security numbers will no longer have to be used as student identification numbers.

President Carol Cartwright said the cost of changing systems to remove Social Security numbers will be high, and the university may continue using them until ERP is running. However, the process could take more than three years to complete and may not even begin this academic year.

With financial issues remaining a concern for the university, the Institutional Advancement Committee reported an increased amount of donors and of faculty and staff donations.

Gifts from private entities are common. For example, the Finance and Administration committee discussed the option of selling university-owned land. This land, in downtown Kent by Water Street, was given to Kent State as an investment and had no restrictions, said David Creamer, vice president for administration. The land could help revitalize the downtown area and increase social activities for students, which Creamer said are limited.

The Board also welcomed new faculty members, looked at capital plans for upcoming years and examined university risks revealed by an outside evaluation.

All motions were approved by the Board of Trustees. Committees, including the new audit committee, will present charters at the next meeting in November.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].